Currently reading: New £126k McLaren 540C launched at Shanghai show
Entry-level model to the McLaren Sport Series range shown at the Shanghai show, complete with a 533bhp twin-turbo V8

McLaren has shown off its most affordable model yet, the 540C Coupé, at the Shanghai motor show.

The 540C sits below the recently revealed 570S in McLaren’s new Sports Series range of models. It has been priced from £126,000, some £17,250 less than the more powerful 570S, and brings McLaren closer to more ‘mainstream’ sports cars such as the Audi R8 and Porsche 911.

The 540C uses a 533bhp version of the twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 engine used in the 570S, in which it develops 562bhp. Peak power arrives at 7500rpm in the 540C and maximum torque of 398lb ft is available between 3500rpm and 6500rpm. The ‘540’ name refers to the engine’s output in metric horsepower, which is 540hp.

Power from the mid-mounted engine is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The 0-62mph time is put at 3.5sec, the 0-124mph time is 10.5sec and the top speed is 199mph. For comparison, the 570S covers 0-62mph in 3.2sec and 0-124mph in 9.5sec and it can reach a top speed of 204mph.

The 540C’s official combined economy of 25.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 258g/km are identical to the more powerful 570S’s.

The 540C is built around a carbonfibre chassis called MonoCell II and features aluminium body panels. It has a dry weight of 1311kg, just 2kg lighter than the 570S and about 150kg less than the next lightest sports car, the R8.

There are small aerodynamic changes to the 540C compared with the 570S, plus new-look alloy wheels measuring 19in in diameter at the front and 20in at the rear. There’s also revised damper tuning, designed to make the 540C more comfortable for daily driving.

Unlike the other model in McLaren’s range to use the ‘C’ suffix — the 625C, which is available in Asia only — the 540C will be available for sale globally. It can be ordered now ahead of deliveries in early 2016. The ‘C’ is understood to stand for Clubsport.

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Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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bomb 21 April 2015

I have an optimistic take on

I have an optimistic take on the 540C, you are basically getting a detuned/simplified 650S/675LT for a whopping drop in price for a car that will be barely slower across the ground. McLaren will charge you twice as much for a 675LT made from exactly the same hardware. When you compare it to cars around it like the R8 V10 and 911 Turbo you may feel like you're getting something really special for the money.

A McLaren to leave in the pub car park, and still does 0-124 in 10.5 seconds.

winniethewoo 21 April 2015

Seems wierd and confusing.

Seems wierd and confusing. How can reducing power by 5% ish result in a 12% ish drop in prices. It must have other things stripped out of the spec.
Burtonez 20 April 2015

Well done Mclaren

I am not a hater unlike 90%+ of the other posters who ever post about Mclaren. Looks good, great tech, doesn't 'look like a Ferrari' as someone posted earlier.... they will sell, just as they sold the P1's and MP4 12c and the 650s and the 675s..... The buyers know something you lot don't or they wouldn't be spending their hard earned cash on them!!